NCAA Football

Ole Miss DB Senquez Golson Intercepts Alabama Pass in End Zone to Seal Upset

No. 11 Ole Miss held on to upset No. 3 Alabama on Saturday thanks to a game-sealing interception in the end zone by senior defensive back Senquez Golson.

On 2nd-and-13 from the Ole Miss 32-yard line with less than a minute remaining, Golson picked off Crimson Tide quarterback Blake Sims' pass in the end zone.

It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but after review, it was determined that Golson caught the ball and got a foot down in bounds.

The interception sealed the game for Ole Miss, as it was able to run out the clock and hold on for a 23-17 victory.

[gifdsports]

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Wisconsin vs. Northwestern: Score and Twitter Reaction

Northwestern stunned No. 17 Wisconsin on Saturday in a 20-14 upset that will jeopardize the Badgers' spot in the college football rankings.

Badgers running back Melvin Gordon delivered his usual brilliant outing, turning 27 carries into 259 yards and a touchdown. He bolted out of the starting gate for a huge carry to begin a day that quickly became bleak for Wisconsin. ESPN College Football shared a significant achievement Gordon has already accomplished on the field in 2014:

Despite Gordon's best efforts, his team could not generate enough offense behind an abysmal passing attack. During the first half, Tanner McEvoy went 4-of-10 with 24 passing yards and an interception. 

Excluding his 283 passing yards and three touchdowns against Western Illinois earlier in the season, the junior has struggled against stiffer competition. Per WisSports' Travis Wilson: 

With no aerial assault to speak of, head coach Gary Andersen made the switch to junior Joel Stave, a decision reported in a Badger Football tweet:

Andersen foreshadowed such a switch early in the week, when he hinted at the swap, The Associated Press reported (via ESPN.com).

"If there's an opportunity to get Joel in the game in the right setting, it will be a possibility," Andersen said. "I think he's continued to progress, handled some more team activities in a solid way this week."

When things aren't going well, there's no player more popular than the backup quarterback, even if he can't right the ship. According to 247Sports' Evan Flood, the Wisconsin faithful at Ryan Field warmly welcomed the change:

Chuck Freimund of 1250 WSSP was also initially thrilled to see the team's former starter take the helm again:

Stave, however, produced much of the same. He completed eight passes in 19 attempts, registering 114 yards, a touchdown and three costly interceptions.

Anyone happy to see Stave quickly realized that Wisconsin can't deliver much through the air either way. Now it's time for an embarrassing tweet relaying his futility, courtesy of Fox Sports Wisconsin's Dave Heller:

But at least he has nailed down a big part of his job description, a sentiment echoed by Heller:

Any chance of a late comeback dissipated with six minutes left in the fourth quarter when Stave threw a pick in the end zone. They scored minutes later, but another interception with less than a minute left sealed the deal, bringing both squads to 3-2 on the season. 

Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian didn't light up Wisconsin's secondary, but his so-so stat line looks masterful in comparison to his opposing quarterbacks. The senior, who entered Saturday with two touchdowns and four interceptions, went 15-of-29 for 182 yards and a passing touchdown.

In a matchup dominated by both ground games, Justin Jackson gained 162 rushing yards on 33 carries for the Wildcats. Playing in Gordon's shadow, the freshman 4-star recruit made quite an impression by exceeding 100 rushing yards for the first time in his young career.

Scout.com's Nick Medline liked what he saw:

Given the national spotlight, Jackson enjoyed a coming-out party against a ranked opponent and potent Big Ten defense. Wisconsin's loss will seize the spotlight over Northwestern's victory, but Jackson's breakout performance is worth celebrating for the Wildcats.

After opening the season with a pair of losses, Northwestern has won three consecutive games to soar over the .500 mark. The squad has surrendered a combined 27 points in the last three games. This win at least puts them in the discussion for a national rank, even if it takes another triumph over Minnesota next weekend.

Wisconsin's quarterback woes will persist into the upcoming weeks. It remains to be seen who takes the snaps against Illinois next week, but the "give the ball to Gordon and hope for the best" strategy will likely be heavily utilized once again.

Even in a subpar outing, Stave showed more ability than McEvoy, so he'll likely vault up to QB No. 1.

As good as Gordon is, he needs some help. After declining to 3-2, don't expect the Badgers to remain in the Associated Press Top 25 next week.

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Nebraska vs. Michigan State: Live Score and Highlights

Michigan State 17, Nebraska 0—Late 2nd Quarter

Who says there aren't any big games in the Big Ten any more?  Tonight, No. 10 Michigan State hosts undefeated and No. 19-ranked Nebraska for supremacy in the Big Ten and an inside track to a possible College Football Playoff berth.

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Arizona State vs. USC: Live Score and Highlights

Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1) vs. USC Trojans (3-1)

7:30 p.m. ET, Fox

With Oregon's loss to Arizona on Thursday, the path to winning the Pac-12 South just got a lot tougher as the Wildcats now control the division. 

USC, at 1-0 in the Pac-12, has a chance to keep pace with Arizona this week but will have to do so against the Sun Devils. 

Arizona State, which played in the Pac-12 Championship Game last year, is reeling from a massive 62-27 loss at the hands of UCLA, so the Sun Devils will be looking to upset the Trojans to get back on track.

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Arizona State vs. USC: Live Score and Highlights

Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1) vs. USC Trojans (3-1) 7:30 p.m. ET, Fox With Oregon's loss to Arizona on Thursday, the path to winning the Pac -12 South just got a lot tougher as the Wildcats now control the division...

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TCU Has Player Lie Down in End Zone on Kick Return, Penalty Wipes out Trick Play

No. 25 TCU is pulling out all of its tricks as it tries to upset No. 4 Oklahoma on Saturday.

After the Sooners tied the game at 21-all with a touchdown in the second quarter, the Horned Frogs attempted a trick play on the ensuing kickoff.

TCU running back B.J. Catalon lay down in the middle of the "O" in "Frogs" in the end zone on the kickoff. That allowed him to hide from the Sooners. Then, he set himself up to receive a lateral and pick up yards.

Catalon took the football to near midfield, but a holding call brought the ball back to the TCU 30-yard line.

Of course, this play brings back memories of the time the Philadelphia Eagles tried to pull it off against the New Orleans Saints back in 2012. Unfortunately, a penalty negated that play as well.

Hopefully, one day this play will be run without the team committing a penalty.

[YouTube]

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Michigan vs. Rutgers: Live Score and Highlights

Rutgers 19, Michigan 17 (Early 3rd Quarter)

Michigan's woes on third downs could lead to another loss. If its defense gets on par with the offense, Rutgers has a good shot in this one. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter: @AdamBiggers81.

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Georgia RB Todd Gurley Throws 50-Yard Pass Against Vanderbilt

Georgia running back Todd Gurley can just add this clip to his Heisman resume.

The Bulldogs running back has already proven that he can run the football, catch out of the backfield and return kicks. On Saturday against Vanderbilt, he proved that he can also throw the football.

In the second quarter, Gurley hit tight end Jeb Blazevich for a 50-yard gain. It was a very good pass under pressure. The only way that this could have been better is if Blazevich had scored.

Georgia capped off the drive by scoring a touchdown.

[SB Nation]

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Heartbreaking Loss to Florida Shows Tennessee Is Still O-Line Away from Return

As much blame as Tennessee senior quarterback Justin Worley should shoulder for Saturday's inexcusable 10-9 loss to Florida, one fact became even more painfully clear: The Volunteers can't win in the SEC without better offensive line play.

Despite the positive buzz surrounding a young team that looks close in some areas, the biggest hole remains one of the most important to fielding a respectable offense.

They've got to fix the issues up front first.

It's reared its ugly head all season, and against the Gators, it was no different. Worley was sacked six times, the Vols mustered just 28 rushing yards on 29 carries and UT's one-dimensional offense failed to score a touchdown.

Worley had been gutsy and come up huge for the Vols prior to the pivotal SEC East showdown. But he proved again that he simply isn't a good enough quarterback to carry the offense by himself.

A poor offensive line forces Worley to be perfect and try to make elite plays that he can't consistently.

UT's signal-caller posted arguably his worst performance since last year's game at Oregon. Worley finished a respectable 26-of-39 for 205 yards, but he made three critical blunders that lost the game.

His momentum-swinging fumble can be directly attributed to the five players charged to protect him.

With the third quarter winding down and with UT clinging to a 9-0 lead, Worley was sacked by blitzing Gators freshman defensive back Jalen Tabor.

As Worley hit the deck again and the ball hit the ground, 102,455 fans in a jacked-up Neyland Stadium could have told you what would happen next. The sack-fumble gave the Gators the football at UT's 30-yard line.

Newly inserted freshman quarterback Treon Harris led a drive that resulted in the game's only touchdown. From the moment of the sack, a nine-point Volunteers lead flipped to a heartbreaking loss.

Should Worley have seen Tabor? He hung onto the ball too long on the play and should have thrown it away, but the bottom line is he was blindsided by a defender yet again—a sight all too familiar for the Vols this season. 

With the six times Worley was sacked against UF, that makes 18 on the season.

Worley made enough miscues on his own, throwing an interception immediately following UT linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin's to start the second half.

Then, with UT down by a point late and after Pig Howard had just made a great, diving catch on 4th-and-10 to extend the drive, Worley rushed a throw into double coverage downfield that was picked off to end the Vols' hopes.

So much blame can go around in an offense that wasted a brilliant defensive performance against a bad Florida team Tennessee had no business losing to. But all of it can be traced back to line play.

Since the Vols can't muster anything on the ground, they're forced to try to move the football in the short passing game. Defenses don't have to stay honest when that's the case.

The high-percentage passes may lead to a lot of completions, but there's no sizzle in those stats because UT can't do anything downfield.

On Saturday, Florida's defenders pinned back their ears and came after Worley. By the end of the game, folks should have been selling "Honk if you sacked Worley" bumper stickers back in Gainesville.

When Worley does drop back and try to hang in the pocket to let plays develop, he winds up taking sacks or getting hit. He just doesn't have enough time to let things happen.

Worley regressed without question against Florida, but the Vols are forced to put the game in his hands, and he has rarely proven he can win the big game. The one time he did, it took a miraculous, one-handed catch by Marquez North last year to upset South Carolina.

There would be no miracles Saturday as head coach Butch Jones was forced to answer questions about one that Tennessee simply let get away. It slipped through UT's fingers like Florida's defenders through the Vols' porous offensive line.

Unfortunately for UT, there are no clear-cut fixes in sight, either.

Senior left tackle Jacob Gilliam practiced this week in pads, according to GoVols247's Wes Rucker (subscription required), just more than a month removed from tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Utah State. But even if he completes an unbelievable return, he won't be enough to fix the issues.

Jones has commitments from four offensive linemen in the 2015 recruiting class, but freshmen routinely struggle to adapt to life in the SEC trenches. The Vols are playing with two—Jashon Robertson and Coleman Thomas—this year, and see how that's working out.

Even if all four can play, they won't be able until next year, and the Vols need to make a bowl game this season. It looks like they'll have to in spite of their offensive line.

The Vols answered that question resoundingly against Florida: You lose.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics gathered from UTSports.com. All recruiting information gathered from 247Sports.com.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Alabama Scores Controversial TD at End of Half on Fumble Return Against Ole Miss

With a 7-3 lead over Ole Miss near the end of the first half of Saturday's game, Alabama gained some breathing room on a controversial touchdown.

It looked like the Rebels were going to be content to run out the final 53 seconds of the first half. On the first play of the drive from the Ole Miss 18-yard line, Rebels running back I'Tavius Mathers received a handoff. That's when a controversial—and potentially game-changing—play occurred.

Crimson Tide defensive back Cyrus Jones poked the ball loose, scooped up the fumble and ran it into the end zone for the score. The touchdown gave Alabama a 14-3 lead in the final minute of the first half.

However, replays showed that Jones appeared to grab Mathers' facemask during the play. If the referees had seen it, the touchdown would not have counted and Ole Miss would have maintained possession.

It was an important no-call in a big showdown, especially considering Alabama gets the ball to start the second half.

[CBS Sports]

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Rashad Greene Injury: Updates on FSU Star's Concussion and Return

Florida State has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but the offense could end up being short-handed without top receiver Rashad Greene.

According to Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat, the senior picked up a concussion in the team's matchup with Wake Forest:

Kelvin Benjamin received more publicity in the Seminoles' national title run, but Greene led the team with 76 receptions and 1,128 yards in 2013. With a strong start to the 2014 season, he is considered one of the best players in the country at his position.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. called him the top senior receiver in the class, via College GameDay:

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has been impressed watching the player this season:

Florida State came into the year favorites to repeat for a title, but Greene spoke about comparing the two squads, via the Associated Press (h/t USA Today):

You have to let us have our own identity. The result may be the same, but we may not beat teams by 30 or 40 like we were last year. But we're winning and getting better and playing good football is the most important thing. People can't compare us to that team. That was definitely a dominant team and nothing had been seen like that in years in college football, period.

Unfortunately, simply getting to the College Football Playoff could be a challenge if Greene's injury turns out to be serious. The Seminoles will need increased production out of Kermit Whitfield and Christian Green as well as tight end Nick O'Leary in order to keep the passing attack at an elite level.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Hurdles N.C. State Defender on His Way into End Zone

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson put an exclamation point on his team's first quarter against N.C. State on Saturday with a very athletic rushing touchdown.

The Tigers put up 21 points against the Wolfpack in the opening quarter, with the final seven points coming on a five-yard touchdown run in which the freshman quarterback hurdled a defender on his way into the end zone.

[YouTube]

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Ohio State vs. Maryland: Game Grades, Analysis for the Buckeyes

The No. 20 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-1) continued to roll Saturday afternoon, blasting the Maryland Terrapins (4-2) in a 52-24 rout at College Park. 

Urban Meyer's Buckeyes piled up 533 total yards against the Terrapins—their third straight game with at least 500 yards. Maryland's offense struggled, gaining just 310 total yards while producing a season-low 24 points.

How did Ohio State grade out after its convincing 28-point victory?

 

Ohio State Buckeyes Grade Analysis

Passing Offense

J.T. Barrett came into the game on an absolute tear, and that continued against the Terrapins. The redshirt-freshman completed 18 of 23 passes for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Michael Thomas had another great performance as well, catching four passes for 75 yards, highlighted by a fantastic 25-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Those two have the Buckeyes pass offense operating at a high level right now.

 

Rushing Offense

After a slow start to the year, Ohio State's ground game is starting to kick into gear. A big reason for that is the maturation of the offensive line, which is breaking in four new starters.

That unit is opening up big holes for Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 139 yards on 24 carries Saturday afternoon. He led the team to 269 rushing yards, and the Buckeyes averaged five yards per carry in a solid outing against the Terps.

Two failed fourth-down conversions at Maryland's goal line in the second half hurt the Buckeyes' final grade, though.

 

Pass Defense

After giving up 352 passing yards to Gunner Kiel and the Cincinnati Bearcats last week, Meyer was concerned about Maryland and its dynamic group of playmakers on offense.

Those concerns proved to be unfounded, though, as the Buckeyes held the Terps' passing attack in check. Dangerous receiver Stefon Diggs only recorded 52 receiving yards, and no pass-catcher had more than 80 yards. The Buckeyes got three sacks and picked off four passes, one of which Raekwon McMillan returned 19 yards for a touchdown.

 

Run Defense

Maryland had a tough time getting anything going on the ground. The Terrapins finished with just 66 rushing yards, averaging 2.8 yards per carry. Brandon Ross had some success, running for 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Those numbers were inflated by one run of 23 yards. Outside of that, the Buckeyes were once again stout against the run.

 

Special Teams

Place-kicker Sean Nuernberger's struggles continued against Maryland. The freshman was called upon midway through the first quarter, and with the wind at his back, he missed badly on a 48-yard field goal. He redeemed himself slightly two drives later when he connected on a 28-yard attempt. The Buckeyes did make a few plays fielding kicks, though, as Dontre Wilson had a nice 32-yard punt return and Jalin Marshall spun his way to a solid 30-yard kickoff return.

 

Coaching

The coaching staff established they're game plans on both sides of the ball effectively. On offense, the Buckeyes kept the Terrapins guessing with a good mix of running and passing. Ohio State rushed for 269 yards and threw for 264. Defensively, the Buckeyes made Maryland one dimensional by taking away the running game. That forced the Terps into making some bad decisions, including a horrendous interception at the end of the half. That turnover allowed the Buckeyes to take a 31-10 lead into halftime, which essentially ended the game.

 

All stats via NCAA.com

David Regimbal covers Ohio State football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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Dak Prescott and Mississippi State Are 2nd Coming of Tim Tebow's Florida Teams

While at Florida, Dan Mullen made a name for himself by helping develop a young quarterback named Tim Tebow into a Heisman Trophy winner and one of the most talked-about players in recent memory.

Six years into his Mississippi State tenure, he might have finally found himself a reasonable facsimile—and the Bulldogs look like SEC and national contenders as a result.

Saturday’s 48-31 demolition of No. 6 Texas A&M only confirmed what those who have been watching closely know: Junior quarterback Dak Prescott is the real deal and an impressive dual-threat in the mode of Tebow, who helped Florida to two BCS National Championships during his Florida career.

He's perhaps even better, if you ask NFL general managers

Prescott completed 19 of 25 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns, adding 77 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. He even went wide and caught a pass in the Texas A&M red zone.

“Dak Prescott walks right into the Heisman discussion!” ESPN’s Dave Pasch exulted as Prescott scored an easy 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. “If you didn’t know who Dak Prescott was coming into his afternoon, you certainly now know he’s one of the best players in college football.”

Prescott is an athletic quarterback who is a physical, tough runner, and at 6’2”, 235 pounds, he is built to punish opposing tacklers, much like Tebow was.

He has also shown steady improvement this season. A year ago, Prescott threw for 1,940 yards with 10 touchdowns against seven interceptions, completing 58.4 percent of his passes and averaging 7.3 yards per attempt.

After Saturday, he has thrown for 1,223 yards with 13 touchdowns against two interceptions, completing 63.6 percent of his passes. His average per attempt is up significantly as well, at 10.1 yards.

Most impressive was how he backed up his breakout effort in MSU’s 34-29 upset of LSU, which saw him account for 373 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs defense showed its mettle as well. The Aggies offense, led by sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill, entered as one of the nation’s most explosive attacks, averaging 51.2 points per game (second nationally) and 401.2 yards passing per game (fifth nationally).

But Mississippi State’s brutish, tough defensive line consistently harassed Hill. He threw for 365 yards and four scores but was intercepted three times and looked nothing like the quarterback who set an A&M single-game passing record in his first start at South Carolina. Prescott and Mississippi State had the dominant offense, scoring almost at will against a young A&M defense.

 There was no doubt that Mississippi State looked like one of the SEC’s best teams.

While Mullen’s former team struggles, his current squad looks a lot like the Gators of old: a nasty defense and a multifaceted offense led by a quarterback who can beat you in a number of different ways.

“Finally, the Bulldogs have a quarterback you can win because of, not in spite of,” ESPN sideline reporter Tom Luginbill said late in the telecast.

The road ahead isn’t easy. No. 5 Auburn comes to Starkville next week, and a trip to No. 3 Alabama looms Nov. 15, as well as the traditional Egg Bowl season finale against No. 11 Ole Miss on Nov. 29. The Rebels stunned Alabama later Saturday, meaning the Egg Bowl could be a Top 10 matchup. 

But this much is clear: Mississippi State has turned a corner to become an SEC contender, and it has Prescott and Mullen’s construction to thank.

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J.T. Barrett Finally Ready to Lead Ohio State on Big Ten Title Run

Between the northeast location and opponent across the field, Ohio State's trip to College Park on Saturday hardly seemed like a traditional Big Ten opener for the Buckeyes.

But what was familiar for Ohio State was the outcome—a 52-24 mashing of Maryland—and its feeling afterward, as the Buckeyes reestablished their status as the conference favorite heading into the heart of the 2014 campaign.

A big part of that was the play of redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who for the third consecutive game showed steady improvement following Ohio State's Sept. 6 loss to Virginia Tech.

In just three quarters and one drive in the fourth quarter, Barrett compiled 338 total yards and five touchdowns, engineering a Buckeyes offense that tallied 533 yards against the overmatched Terrapins.

"He's a very good quarterback. He had some nice throws," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer told ESPN sideline reporter Todd McShay after the game. "J.T.'s one of our strong points right now."

No, Barrett isn't Braxton Miller, the two-time Big Ten MVP whom he replaced due to injury just two weeks prior to the start of the season.

But what Barrett has accomplished in the weeks following OSU's defeat at the hands of the Hokies has been as much as anyone could have asked from the Wichita Falls, Texas, native, who is likely on his way to being named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week for the fourth time in five games this season.

"A young guy like that on the road," Meyer said as he set the scene for the Ohio State radio network in a postgame interview. "He's just growing up so fast."

Efficiency has been the norm for the Buckeyes under the direction of Barrett, both in the air and on the ground. Attempting 23 passes on the day, Barrett completed 18 throws for 267 yards and four scores, adding 71 rushing yards and a touchdown to complement Ezekiel Elliott's team-high 139 rushing yards.

That brings Barrett's post-Virginia Tech loss three-game combined totals to 909 passing yards, 156 rushing yards, 15 total touchdowns (14 passing, 1 rushing) and just one interception.

To say that the freshman's improvement in the last 28 days has been dramatic would be an understatement, as it's no coincidence that Ohio State hasn't scored fewer than 50 points in its last three games.

And while the Buckeyes may be used to a record-setting pace with Meyer's spread attack, it didn't seem so simple four weeks ago when the Hokies stifled the Ohio State offense with a Bear, cover-zero approach on defense.

But as ensuing opponents have attempted to emulate what at the time appeared to be a blueprint for beating the Buckeyes, they've found themselves picked apart by Barrett and an evidently improving offense.

"The Virginia Tech game, I think everybody's looking at that," Meyer said. "They're putting a lot of pressure on our quarterback, and he's answering."

Maryland was no different on Saturday, loading the box in an attempt to take away Elliott and force the ball into the hands of Ohio State's freshman signal-caller.

Barrett responded by completing passes to nine different receivers at varying lengths down the field, opening lanes for both himself and Elliott when he wasn't otherwise finding the end zone.

"We have a lot of confidence right now in our quarterback and our skill positions," Meyer said. "There's a lot of opportunities to make plays because we're confident. We weren't that way in the first game because we didn't show it in practice enough. Now they're starting to practice that way."

That's bad news for the rest of the Big Ten, at least in the East Division, which once again appears to be on a collision course to have its champion decided on Nov. 8 in East Lansing, Michigan. 

With Ohio State playing as well as it has in the past month, only Michigan State can match the momentum of the Buckeyes, who are headed into a bye week before tuneup games against Rutgers, Penn State and Illinois before their showdown with the Spartans.

Of course, a lot can happen for both teams before then—starting with tonight's prime-time matchup between Michigan State and Nebraska.

And while no defense Ohio State has seen—or will see—can stack up to the Spartans, the play of Barrett has created a cause for optimism, which couldn't have otherwise been found in Columbus a month ago.

"He's playing very well," Meyer said of his emerging star signal-caller. "The neat thing is, we can still get better."

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Ohio State Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Kenyan Drake Injury: Updates on Alabama RB's Leg and Recovery

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Kenyan Drake suffered what looked to be a serious leg injury in Saturday's game against Ole Miss.

CBS Sports' Eye on College Football shared some observations regarding Drake's injury:

The Tide have a deep backfield that already features T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry as the main ball-carriers. However, heading into the game against Ole Miss, Drake paced all Alabama ball-carriers with four rushing scores on the year.

The presumptive severity of Drake's injury casts aside most implications from a football standpoint for now. The primary concern is that the junior isn't as severely hurt as it appeared.

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Is the Heisman Dak Prescott's to Lose After Monster Performance Against A&M?

Dak Prescott continued his impressive season as the Mississippi State Bulldogs rolled all over the No. 6-ranked Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday, 48-31. 

With wins vs. LSU and now Texas A&M, is Prescott the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy?

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder discusses the Heisman chances for the breakout quarterback. Watch the video and let us know where you think Prescott stacks up in the Heisman race. 

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Dak Prescott vs. Texas A&M: Stat Line, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

In a battle of unbeaten SEC powers featuring top-tier quarterbacks, No. 12 Mississippi State's Dak Prescott showed his experience advantage by outperforming No. 6 Texas A&M's Kenny Hill on the way to a shocking 48-31 upset.

As a result, Prescott firmly entrenches his name in the Heisman conversation thanks to not only his dual-threat tendencies that produce video game-esque numbers, but for his propensity for big performances when it matters most.

A mere weeks removed from going to Baton Rouge and posting 373 total yards and three scores to upend then-ranked No. 8 LSU, the junior signal-caller was at it again Saturday, compiling yet another gaudy stat line:

Thanks to the performance, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin looks something akin to a prophet after praising Prescott before the game.

"I think Dak Prescott is the player that [Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen] has been wanting," Sumlin said, per ESPN.com's Sam Khan Jr.. "[He’s] the complete dual-threat quarterback to make this thing go."

Even for those who have yet to take the Bulldogs seriously, it is now impossible to ignore Prescott's Heisman candidacy. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer puts it best:

Going into the weekend, there were few surefire candidates anyway outside of Georgia back Todd Gurley, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Alabama wideout Amari Cooper. But with Mariota's team already possessing a mark in the loss column, Prescott may very well stand alone in terms of importance to his team at this juncture.

In fact, Prescott's heroics to date are already drawing comparisons to one of the collegiate game's all-time greats, as noted by Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com:

That comparison makes more sense when one understands that Prescott models his approach after Tim Tebow, as illustrated by the SEC Network:

His play on the national stage continues to catch the eye of those at the professional level, too.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller sees a quarterback with plenty of pro-ready tools in need of some refinement:

Whether it was a bruising touchdown run from a short distance in the second quarter, a superb 51-yard touchdown connection with Fred Brown in the third quarter or an 11-yard scoring scamper to put the nail in the coffin permanently in the final frame, Prescott's all-around game while taking care of the football has the eye of the nation.

It is important to remember that, while known as an offensive force, the Texas A&M defense entered Saturday ranked as the No. 13 overall unit in the nation, allowing just 15.0 points per game on average—the season highlight being an ability to hold South Carolina to all of 67 rushing yards.

Prescott passed that number by 10 yards and added a trio of scores for good measure. 

While the notion that Prescott is nothing more than an early season flash in the pan is beginning to seriously fade, his Heisman resume and future prospects will be seriously tested again next weekend when No. 5 Auburn comes to town. Circle Nov. 15 on those calendars, too, as the Bulldogs travel to Tuscaloosa for a date against the Crimson Tide that looms large, too.

For now, though, Prescott has made himself known in the mind of the national consciousness after taking down another perennial SEC force. Only a week remains before he must do it again.

At this point, does anyone want to doubt an experienced quarterback who accounts for 19 total touchdowns and two interceptions with two wins over top-10 opposition?

 

Statistics and info courtesy of ESPN unless otherwise specified.

 

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Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State: How Bulldogs' Win Reshapes Playoff Picture

In what was supposed to be an epic battle between two of the best teams in the SEC, Mississippi State solidified its standing as one of the best teams in the country and a true threat for the College Football Playoff with a dominating victory over Texas A&M that wasn't as close as the 48-31 score indicates. 

The Aggies high-powered offensive attack was held in check all day by a swarming Bulldogs defense that got helped out by a lot of drops by Texas A&M wide receivers. Kenny Hill was charged with 25 incompletions, but ESPN Stats & Info noted that at least eight of them were balls that should have been caught:

If there was any doubt about whether Mississippi State was legitimate, especially after entering this season outside the Top 25 in both major polls, they have been quieted. As NFL.com's Gil Brandt noted, this marks the school's second consecutive win against a Top-10 team:

While there is still a lot of time for things to be put into place, no other school that entered the week ranked ahead of Mississippi State can match that resume. Florida State has only played one game against a team in the Top 25 at the time of the matchup. Alabama has a chance to, but a few things must fall into place later in the year. 

It's safe to assume that the Bulldogs have just vaulted into the top five with wins over LSU and Texas A&M. They might even climb higher than that by virtue or Oregon's loss against Arizona, though they don't need anyone's help to show how good they are. 

It was also a momentous win for the school, as ESPN's College Gameday tweeted that this is the first time Mississippi State has defeated two teams in The Associated Press Top 10:

Hill, who entered the game as a Heisman contender with 17 touchdowns, three interceptions and just four sacks, was destroyed by Dan Mullen's defense. Richie Brown had three interceptions on his own for Mississippi State. 

That's relevant to the discussion of getting into the College Football Playoff because the teams that play for the title are going to be decided by people this year. Any positive impression you can leave on the selection committee is going to help you. 

Holding one of the best offensive teams in the country to 17 points and intercepting a legitimate star quarterback three times is going to stick in your mind. 

Mullen actually admitted during the SEC Media Days in July that he had some reservations about the process of selecting teams for the playoffs by saying that he just hoped college football ends a season the right way, via Mike Herndon of AL.com:

"The key is you want to look back after a season and say, college football got it right," Mullen said. "The champion is the best team in the country."

Life in the SEC West is not easy. The Bulldogs still have games against Auburn next week, Alabama on November 15 and Mississippi in the regular season finale on November 29. No one is going to come out of the conference unbeaten, but when you lose is almost as important as who you lose to. 

On the other side, Texas A&M would have remained in the picture for the College Football Playoff with a close loss. No one is going to severely penalize a team for losing on the road against a team ranked No. 12 in the country. 

However, when you get blown out in the way the Aggies did, with the defense allowing nearly 559 yards of offense and receiving corps that was struggling to catch anything all game, they need a lot of things to go right over the next two months to even have a chance. 

Even though the official rankings for the College Football Playoff don't come out until October 28, it's safe to assume right now that Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Auburn would be the top four in whatever order. 

With its last two wins, one on the road against LSU and a dominant home effort against Texas A&M, Mississippi State has a great argument to be made as the fifth team. Nothing that Baylor, UCLA, Notre Dame or Michigan State is as impressive. 

Mississippi can get in that mix as well with a game against Alabama later on Saturday, but right now the Bulldogs look like a true championship contender. 

 

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Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State: Score and Twitter Reaction

No. 12 Mississippi State made a major statement Saturday afternoon at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi, as the Bulldogs upset No. 6 Texas A&M, 48-31.

Mississippi State handed the Aggies their first loss of the season, while the Bulldogs improved their record to 5-0. Quarterback Dak Prescott proved to be the difference, as he outplayed Texas A&M signal-caller Kenny Hill and possibly leapfrogged him in the Heisman Trophy race.

Prescott ended the game with 259 passing yards, 77 rushing yards and five total touchdowns in the greatest performance of his career to date.

On the heels of their win over LSU two weeks ago, the Bulldogs made history by defeating the Aggies, according to ESPN College GameDay:

There was plenty riding on this game, as both teams entered with perfect records. The Aggies and Bulldogs each had SEC title and College Football Playoff aspirations and knew full well that a loss could crush those dreams.

Texas A&M was shorthanded entering the game, as a shoulder injury suffered during last week's come-from-behind win over Arkansas forced leading receiver Malcome Kennedy to sit out.

Even without his No. 1 target, Hill had no trouble marching down the field on the Aggies' opening drive. As Bill Bender of Sporting News noted, Hill was able to take advantage of the great weapons still at his disposal:

On that opening drive, Hill threw for 65 yards and tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds to put Texas A&M on top 7-0 in the early going. As the game progressed, however, Kennedy's absence would certainly come to loom large, with the Aggies offense struggling.

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle had more on the Aggies' receiving woes with Kennedy out:

Unfazed by the early 7-0 deficit, the Bulldogs marched right down the field on their opening drive. A 49-yard run from junior running back Josh Robinson eventually set up a one-yard plunge by Robinson to tie the game less than five minutes in. A personal foul call against Texas A&M defensive end Qualen Cunningham helped shrink the field for Mississippi State in the red zone.

After a high hit on Prescott, Cunningham was ejected from the game for targeting, per ESPN Texas A&M:

Due to a miscommunication regarding the jersey number, the officials nearly made a mistake, according to NFL.com's Chase Goodbread:

After a three-and-out series, the Aggies gained new life when Bulldogs return man Jamoral Graham muffed a punt. The coverage got extremely close, but Texas A&M didn't get flagged on the play, per Zack McMillin of The Commercial Appeal:

The Bulldogs were fortunate to avoid further damage, however, as they made a crucial stop on 4th-and-1 at their own 17-yard line and regained possession of the ball.

Both teams traded possessions for the remainder of the first quarter until Mississippi State gained some momentum late in the frame. Prescott was especially effective on the drive, as he completed a pair of 22-yard passes and ran the ball with purpose as well.

Prescott was even starting to outshine Hill, which impressed many, including Kedrick Storey of the Southern Sentinel:

A short Robinson touchdown run on the final play of the first quarter once again finished off the drive, which gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage.

As seen in this graphic, courtesy of MSU Football on Twitter, Mississippi State's offense was far more efficient than that of Kevin Sumlin's heralded squad:

Texas A&M once again failed to get anything going on offense early in the second, which gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to extend their lead. They did precisely that with an 11-play, 87-yard drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock.

Prescott was once again on fire; he ran or passed on all but one play during the drive. The junior signal-caller found pay dirt with a tough, second-effort run, giving Mississippi State a commanding 21-7 lead.

The run was reminiscent of former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, one NFL general manager has already drawn a favorable comparison between Prescott and the former Gator:

With Prescott running roughshod over the Aggies, Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press endorsed the big signal-caller as a true player in the Heisman race:

The Aggies started to drive on the following possession, but Bulldogs linebacker Richie Brown prematurely ended the drive by picking off Hill. It was a fortuitous bounce for Mississippi State, as the ball popped out of the hands of wide receiver Boone Niederhofer.

While Niederhofer could have done better, Alex Brown of Optimum Scouting critiqued Hill, as the ball was thrown well behind his receiver:

Robinson fumbled the ball back to Texas A&M two plays later, but Hill's nightmarish half continued. He threw yet another interception, with Brown coming away with the ball for the second time in five plays.

The pair of picks shocked the Aggies, especially since Hill had thrown just two interceptions all season entering the contest.

With the Aggies in disarray, Prescott went to work and orchestrated another masterful drive. The do-everything quarterback even caught a pass for 11 yards before firing a nine-yard strike to De'Runnya Wilson, which made it 28-7 in favor of Mississippi State.

Texas A&M was able to salvage something at the end of the half by hitting a 27-yard field goal, but the Bulldogs had to be content to enter halftime up 28-10.

As seen in this tweet courtesy of ESPN's College GameDay, Prescott definitely won the battle of quarterbacks in the opening half:

The Bulldogs had a chance to cancel out Texas A&M's late field goal early in the third quarter, but kicker Evan Sobiesk brutally missed a 42-yard attempt short.

Much like in the first half, though, the Aggies offense couldn't capitalize. On Mississippi State's third drive of the half, it managed to essentially bury Texas A&M and put the game out of reach. A 51-yard romp by running back Brandon Holloway set the stage for Prescott's second short touchdown of the day.

The Texas A&M defensive line was no match for Prescott on the sneak as he muscled his way past the goal line, ESPN's Rece Davis noted:

The Bulldogs' extra point attempt was blocked, though, making the score 34-10. Texas A&M desperately needed a touchdown, and it was finally able to get one on the next drive. Hill led his team on a 78-yard drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to freshman Speedy Noil.

Noil turned in a spectacular effort as he caught the ball near the end zone and somehow managed to extend the ball over the pylon while falling backward out of bounds.

Dan Wolken of USA Today was among those taken aback by the athletic move:

Just when it seemed like the Aggies were gaining momentum, the Bulldogs answered back almost immediately. Prescott found Fred Brown for a 51-yard touchdown to go back up by 24 points, 41-17.

With time running out for the Aggies, the Bulldogs managed to get in yet another body blow. Hill threw an interception to Brown for the third time in the game. That pick gave Brown the team lead on the season, according to Bob Carskadon of HailState.com:

To add insult to injury, Mississippi State took advantage of the turnover, as Prescott rushed for his third touchdown of the day. That put the Bulldogs on top 48-17 and further bolstered Dak's Heisman resume, per the AP's David Brandt:

The Aggies were able to make a cosmetic improvement to the score with a touchdown from Hill to Noil with just under two-and-a-half minutes remaining, followed by another scoring toss from Hill to Reynolds a little more than a minute later.

The game was already out of hand by that time, though, and Mississippi State was able to seal the victory.

While this is a huge win for the Bulldogs, especially on the heels of a victory over LSU, things won't get any easier. Mississippi State will host No. 5 Auburn next week in yet another game with huge College Football Playoff implications.

The Tigers will be a major challenge for Mississippi's State's offense, due largely to the dual-threat nature of quarterback Nick Marshall. If the Bulldogs can win that game, though, nobody will be able to deny their status as legitimate national title contenders.

Texas A&M isn't technically out of it yet, but it will likely have to win out in order to vie for the national championship. With games against No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 3 Alabama over the next two weeks, this season has the potential to get out of hand quickly if the Aggies defense can't get straightened out.

There is no question that the Texas A&M fanbase has to be disappointed with Saturday's effort, but Mississippi State essentially played a perfect game on both sides of the ball.

If the Bulldogs are able to maintain this form moving forward, there may not be a team in the nation they can't beat.

 

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